Essay on role of women within orthodox judaism

Essay on role of women within orthodox judaism

Length: 1900 words (5.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Role of Women within Orthodox Judaism



     Since the beginning of the Jewish religion, women have had what seems to be a marginalized role that encompasses almost every facet of life. In many cases within the body of Jewish texts, clear misogynist statements and commentary are made dealing with every aspect of what it means to be female. Within the Orthodox movement, these restrictions appear to be the most prevalent. Through examination of the role of women within the key elements of the Orthodox Jewish life cycle: birth, adolescence, adulthood, and death, I hope to discover whether the female discriminatory point of view of Jewish Orthodoxy is founded or if the traditional ways of the Orthodox community are simply misunderstood.
     It is difficult to understand the role of women within a religion without a basic understanding of the religion in question; especially if talking of Judaism. It is now important to recognize that for faithful Jews, everything, whether within religious or secular life, revolves around religious laws or mitzvot (singular mitzvah).(1) The Jewish way of life encompasses every aspect of human endeavor. There is a verse in the Book of Isaiah: God desired for his righteousness’ sake to make the Torah great and glorious.” (Isaiah 42:21) This verse was interpreted in rabbinic Judaism to mean that God provided many opportunities for people to acquire righteousness by giving them a multitude of commandments covering every situation in life. Orthodox Jews recognize 613 mitzvot. Whether a Jew is conducting business, preparing a meal, or doing any other thing a person might do, there is a mitzvah to give direction to that activity. In understanding this, it becomes clear why it is so difficult for women to question Orthodox Jewish beliefs.
     Historically, Judaism began around 2000 B.C.E -1600 B.C.E. during what is commonly called the Age of the Patriarchs. It began in the Middle East around...

... middle of paper ...

... The Transformantion of Tradition.      New York: New York University Press.

Sacks, Maurie. 1995. Active Voices: Women in Jewish Culture. Chicago:      University of Illinois Press.

Wylen, Stephen M. 1989. Settings of Silver: An Introduction to Judaism. New
     Jersey: Paulist Press.

Zuckerman, Francine. 1992. Half the Kingdom: Seven Jewish Feminists.      Montreal: Vehicule Press.

Electronic Resources

Cohen, Debra Nussbaum. 1995. Women Carving New Place in Orthodox      Judaism. Accessed: January 19, 2001. http://www/ /1woman.htm

Kaye, Sara. Women’s Role in Judaism. Accessed: January 19, 2001. http://www.

Orthodox Judaism. Accessed: January 28, 2001.

Keele, Lisa. Hidden Worship: The Religious Rituals of Orthodox Jewish Women.
     Accessed: January 19, 2001.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Judaism And The Reformed Movement Essay

- Judaism is recognized as one of the most ancient religions in the world. Followers are united by certain beliefs such as the belief in one God. However, as time progressed, Judaism did to leading to diversity within the religion. Interpretations of the text, adherence to Halacha, and traditions followed are all aspects that separate one movement from another. Four major movements include Reform, Conservative, Modern Orthodox, and Reconstructionist Judaism. While these denominations have some binding beliefs, many aspects set these movements apart....   [tags: Judaism, Halakha, Conservative Judaism, Israel]

Powerful Essays
1682 words (4.8 pages)

Women 's Roles Of The Religions Of Judaism, Hinduism, And Christianity Essay

- Women’s Roles Abstract This paper researches various issues effecting women in the religions of Judaism, Hinduism, and Christianity. The paper explores women’s issues such as religious roles, marriage, and education. Women engaged in these religions share many similarities and differences with other women in Judaism, Hinduism, and Christianity. This paper explains the views each of these issues put on women and how they have changed throughout the years. Women have tried, and some have succeeded, to bring equality....   [tags: Christianity, Religion, Judaism, Marriage]

Powerful Essays
1908 words (5.5 pages)

Essay The Rites of Passage Within Judaism

- The Rites of Passage Within Judaism (a) Examine the rituals and teachings which are associated with circumcision and Bar Mitzvah (20 marks) Two very important rites of passage within Judaism are circumcision and Bar Mitzvah, both of which are only for boys and happen during childhood. Circumcision, also known as Brit Millah, symbolizes the covenant between God and the Jewish people, which was agreed with Abraham. In return for Jewish people physically showing their Jewish faith through being circumcised, God agreed to protect them, as they were the chosen race, and lead them to the Holy Land where they could create a great nation....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
2720 words (7.8 pages)

Essay about The Role of Women in Judaism

- The Role of Women in Judaism Some say that the role of women in Judaism has been misrepresented and misunderstood. Today when people think of women's role in Judaism, they think of them as being of very low importance. Yet, threw the Halakha (Jewish laws) we are able to see how significant the role of women is in Judaism. There are many Jewish feminist leaders in today's society. This is because throughout the years of education and study of Judaism, the women learned that everyone must be respected....   [tags: Religion Jewish Papers]

Powerful Essays
1151 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on The Debate Of Christianity And Judaism

- Christianity and Judaism being two entirely separate faiths, retain the significance of a common issue that is, the importance of biological morality. Bioethics refers to biomedical advancements and the faith-based beliefs and practices concerning the controversial matters of; abortion, euthanasia and in vitro fertilisation (IVF). In Christianity and Judaism, similarities and contrasts of beliefs and practices are evident through religious laws which are based on the religious scripture, jurisdictions and teachings of the Bible and Torah....   [tags: Pregnancy, In vitro fertilisation, Fertility]

Powerful Essays
1399 words (4 pages)

Why the Religious Law About Pure Sex is Beneficial for Jewish Orthodox Women?

- Most religions of the world address moral issues that arise from people's sexuality within the human interactions. “Sex and religion- two of the most powerful, passionate, and poetic aspects of human existence”( “Manning and Zuckerman pg. 1“). There are many distinct religious beliefs about the complexion of sexuality and the appropriateness of various sexual behaviors. “Some religious (or aspects within them) can be described as comparatively “sex positive”. By “sex positive“, we mean that sensual, erotic activity involving the consensual pursuit and / or actualization of gratifying bodily pleasure is understood as natural and acceptable , even holy....   [tags: behavior, touch, purity, law]

Powerful Essays
2212 words (6.3 pages)

Essay about Hasidism and Higher Education: Do They Clash?

- Hasidism and Higher Education; do they Clash. When Hasidim, who belong to an ultra-pious movement within Orthodox Judaism, immigrated during the post World War ll era in large numbers to America, they sought to build a community similar to the European Shtetl culture to which they were accustomed. In the Shtetl they had lived a traditional and insular lifestyle. Hasidic leaders of the new immigrants founded communities that shunned contemporary Western Culture. Their successors continue to lead the mainstream Hasidic establishment with the same ideals....   [tags: Judaism]

Powerful Essays
558 words (1.6 pages)

The Islam-Judaism Clash of Civilizations Essay

- On the streets of Jerusalem, in the rubble of Ramallah, in synagogues, in mosques, in the hearts and minds of millions in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the remainder of Israel, Israelis and Palestinians are locked in a clash of civilizations. In his masterful work, The Clash of Civilizations, Samuel L. Huntington outlines a theory which approaches international politics on the scale of civilizations. However, he circumvents discussion about Israel. Huntington cautiously describes Israel as a “non-Western” (Huntington 90) country, but identifies the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as one along a fault line between civilizations (267)....   [tags: Palestinians Israelis Politics Political]

Powerful Essays
2537 words (7.2 pages)

Essay on The Role Of Giger And Davidhizar 's Transcultural Assessment Tool

- For this assignment, I will assess an adult from a different culture than that of my own. I will utilize the Giger and Davidhizar’s transcultural assessment tool to perform my assessment. After assessing this adult, I will summarize my findings. Along with summarizing, I will provide three professional references, as well as a conclusion. Description of the Person and Cultural Heritage Jeremy Packer is a 31 year old man who has a Jewish cultural background. He was born in the United States. Jeremy is a single young man, who works as a nursing assistant....   [tags: Judaism, Halakha, Conservative Judaism]

Powerful Essays
1844 words (5.3 pages)

Essay on Religion Is A Form Of Practicing Spirituality

- Religion is a form of practicing spirituality, it is a way to connect or communicate with their supreme being. It also influences individuals to perceive life, nature, ethics, or themselves in a different form, that way is my perspective of what religion is. Throughout this semester, we have learned about the major religions and other religions that are not so common. I have also gained more knowledge about not just the religion that I practice, Catholicism, but about other religions, beside own....   [tags: Christianity, Religion, Judaism, Bible]

Powerful Essays
814 words (2.3 pages)